Drawing Outside the Lines: A Julia Morgan Novel

Drawing Outside the Lines: A Julia Morgan Novel
Age Range
Release Date
October 18, 2022
Buy This Book
Meet the brilliant, fearless, and ambitious Julia Morgan. In 1883, eleven-year-old Julia visits the amazing new Brooklyn Bridge—an experience that ignites within her a small but persistent flame. Someday, she decides, she too will build an astounding structure.

Growing up in horse-and-buggy Oakland, Julia enjoys daring fence walks, climbing the tallest trees, and constantly testing her mother’s patience with her lack of interest in domestic duties and social events. At a time when “brainy” girls are the object of ridicule, Julia excels in school and consistently outsmarts her ornery brothers—but she has an even greater battle ahead. When she enrolls at university to study engineering, the male students taunt her, and the professors belittle her. Through it all, however, Julia holds on to her dream of becoming an architect. She faces each challenge head-on, firmly standing up to those who believe a woman’s place is in the home. Fortunately, the world has yet to meet anyone like the indomitable Miss Morgan.

Drawing Outside the Lines is an imagined childhood of pioneering architect Julia Morgan, who left behind her an extraordinary legacy of creativity, beauty, and engineering marvels.

Editor review

1 review
Julia Morgan The Pioneer
(Updated: March 30, 2023)
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
DRAWING OUTSIDE THE LINES by Susan J. Austin is a fictional account of what Julia Morgan’s life could have looked like. Morgan was an American architect, born in 1872, and was one of the first female pioneers in her field. Austin makes educated guesses on what could’ve happened throughout Morgan’s childhood and adolescence that would’ve led to her pursuing her dreams with great success, while simultaneously juxtaposing that against the time period. For that reason, this book is a great addition to your repertoire or library for exploring women’s history.

One of the notable themes in this story is the blatant sexism Morgan faces at every turn in her journey. Her male classmates and teachers throughout high school and college often underestimate and undermine her. Morgan, however, continues to beat them through dignity and the quality of her work. At times, it can be difficult to read about the blatant misogyny that happened. However, it’s also a good reminder of both where we came from and where we are now. That being said, some of Morgan’s biggest cheerleaders are other male characters, like her father, showcasing the complexity of her situation.

Despite all that, the historical fiction element of this novel is also fun as it’s set amidst the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, skyscrapers, and more. Austin does a good job of painting what life may have looked like at the end of the 1800s. In fact, she worked with an expert historian to make sure all the events of the book are plausible. Though this story is mostly set among the upper class, I enjoyed imagining this time period and what it would’ve been like to exist then.

DRAWING OUTSIDE THE LINES will be appealing to people of all ages with its fantastic takeaway messages: go after what you want, no matter what other people say, and don’t let all your work stop you from enjoying life. These subjects are timeless, really, and Austin via Julia Morgan has given them life again.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account